Shermaine Sim, Head, Guided Weapon Systems, Weapons & Armament Systems, Land Systems Centre of Expertise, HTX, Singapore

By Yun Xuan Poon

Women in GovTech Special Report 2021.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

HTX strives to deliver cutting-edge technologies and systems to the home team departments. In my current role, my responsibilities include conducting front-end studies of available weapon technologies, understanding operational requirements of the frontline officers and leading projects to develop advanced sensor and weapon capabilities. A lot of it involves managing schedules, budgets, contractors and expectations of end users. The other key aspect is technical and requires in-depth knowledge of systems to evaluate design and performance, and includes going on-site for installation, integration and testing activities.

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?

This year, I worked on delivering an integrated surveillance and weapon systems suite to one of the home team departments. Amid the pandemic, significant effort was required to arrange for trials to be conducted and coordinate the entry of the foreign contractors into Singapore. I took part in sea trials and live firing tests to validate the systems performance in their actual operating environment, and it was rewarding to be able to finally commission the systems for operations. It is an ongoing effort to deliver the systems for the fleet, and it is heartening to know that the systems would augment our Home Team Officers’ surveillance and patrol operations for many years to come.

What is one unexpected learning from 2021?

Just as technology and systems get upgraded, people and processes are constantly changing. I learnt that there is no such thing as a norm, and one cannot be complacent even when performing repetitive tasks. Methods or solutions that could work in the past might not necessarily apply due to different conditions or persons involved. It is important to continuously question if there is a better or faster way of doing things and adapt to find new alternatives and ways to achieve the same goal. Especially while meeting requirements of users who are typically faced with time-critical situations, it is necessary to be dynamic and act fast to solve issues.

What’s your favourite memory from the past year?

With the restrictions on social gatherings, it has been challenging to catch up with family and friends, and I cherish any opportunity to be able to meet up for a quick chat. I am blessed to have a group of like-minded friends, and we rented a yacht to tour the southern islands earlier in the year when social gatherings of up to 8 pax were allowed. It was a brief respite from a hectic workday and truly felt like a short vacation.

What’s a tool or technique you’re excited to explore in 2022?

I hope to be able to find time to look into ways to digitise work processes, and to tap on data visualisation tools to aid in tracking project issues, system defects and turnaround times etc.

What are your priorities for 2022?

To continue developing competencies in technology and deepen my knowledge of home team operations and their challenges to explore innovative solutions that leverage on technology.

Who are the mentors and heroes that inspire you?

My mentors include those who have helped me grow in my career, past and current supervisors and peers. They are passionate individuals I have encountered who guided me not only in areas of work but also in personal development. Those who inspire me are effective leaders who excel in their field but are able to communicate well, take time to engage staff and improve the organisation culture.

What gets you up in the morning?

Simple and honest answer would be - a cup of coffee. Jokes aside, it is knowing that my daily tasks, albeit small or seemingly insignificant, contribute to a greater goal in ensuring safety and security of our nation and that gives me a sense of purpose to put in my utmost effort into fulfilling my responsibilities.